Will Matt Holliday go down as a Cardinal legend?
Matt Holliday has always been one of the best hitters in the game since his debut season of 2004. After five strong seasons with the Colorado Rockies including a trip to the World Series in 2007, Holliday was traded to the Oakland Athletics. It was then after a slow start to the 2009 season, Matt Holliday was traded once again. The Cardinals sent top hitting prospect Brett Wallace, RHP Clayton Mortensen, and OF Shane Peterson to the Athletics in exchange for Holliday. After a red hot performance from Holliday that led the Cardinals to the post season, the Cardinals rewarded Holliday with a monster seven year contract worth $120 million dollars, the largest contract in Cardinals history, yes more expensive than Albert Pujols‘ extension. So my questions are will Matt Holliday go down as one of the greatest Cardinals ever? And also does Holliday have what it takes to make it to the Hall of Fame?
Cardinal- Since he became a Cardinal in the summer of 2009, Holliday has gotten off to a great start as a Cardinal. In those three and a half seasons, he already has a line of .308/.389/.528 (AVG/OBP/SLG) which proves that he is more than just another Coors Field product. In his so far brief Cardinals career Holliday has hit 90 homers has 335 RBI, 133 doubles, 315 runs scored, and 578 hits.
Career- For someone who has an outside chance of making it to the Hall of Fame, Holliday has pretty good statistics. Let us compare his first nine seasons to that of the first nine seasons of the Cardinals Hall of Fame outfielders. As you can see in the chart below, through his first nine seasons Holliday has pretty good numbers compared to some of the other Cardinal hall of famers. He has more hits and doubles than both Lou Brock (who has over 3,000 career hits) and Enos Slaughter. Most of his numbers are at least within the range as the other hall of famers in just about every category which is pretty impressive.
Cardinal- Already in parts of four seasons with the Cardinals, Matt Holliday has managed to get himself some national recognition. In his first full season with the Cardinals back in 2010 Holliday received the NL Silver Slugger for his position. He has also been an All Star in all three full seasons with the Cardinals. Pretty good awards with just a little bit of time. And we cannot forget the biggest accolade of all, Matt Holliday will forever go down as a World Champion for the unforgettable 2011 comeback Cardinals team.
Career- For his career, Holliday has been a part of six All Star teams, all representing the National League. He has also been a Silver Slugger award winner four times in his career(’06, ’07, ’08, ’10). Back in his career year of 2007, Holliday also finished second in the MVP voting leading the league in AVG (.340), RBI (137), hits (216), total bases (386) and doubles (50). Also in 2007 Holliday won the NLCS MVP quite the honor for any player, though not as prestigious as the actual MVP.
Though it is impossible to accurately project a player’s future, let me at least take a stab at it to see if Holliday truly could be both a Cardinal Legend and a Hall of Famer.
Cardinal- With Holliday signed through at least 2017 that means there is still possibly 5 seasons left with Matt Holliday as a Cardinal. Let us just say that he bats around .300 all remaining years, gets around 175 hits, hits about 22 homers, and gets at least 85 RBI. That would give him around 210 homers as a Cardinal, about 760 RBI as a Cardinal, about 1,500 hits, and an average around .305. Those are pretty good numbers for a Cardinal, but who knows exactly how the next five seasons will go for Holliday but I think it is safe to say he will be around these numbers if not greater. If these numbers are close to the real thing, Holliday could easily rank in the Cardinals franchise as one of the top ten in homers, hits and RBI. Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that Holliday could return to the Cardinals after the deal expires in 2017 even if it were a brief stint it could effect his numbers as a Cardinal.
Career- Let us say that my previous projections are correct, that would give Holliday around 2,500 hits, about 340 homers, that would give him close to 1,300 RBI and still an average around .305. Those numbers could easily build a nice hall of fame resume, but keep in mind these are just projections based on an average with no decline. He would have to stay healthy for the remainder of his career as well as producing above average numbers for the remainder of his career to come close to these projections. I think it is a long shot but he could make it to Cooperstown if he keeps on hitting well and playing the game hard.
Like I said, it is impossible to accurately project a players future, so this entire article is not only subject to change but completely relies on the tests of time. If Holliday does put up numbers similar to what I projected, he could rank as one of the greatest Cardinals of all time, as well as one of the best hitters of his generation and maybe even earn himself a spot in Cooperstown.